Sunday, October 08, 2006


Or, telltale signs that you’ve arrived in the home of the Canucks

By Theolonius McTavish, a transplanted toothy tartan type with a yen for tippling tankards and tasty tidbits that give one a terrible tummy ache, a red if not running nose and short-term memory loss.

Friends and even the occasional foe often ask me, “So, how’s life in Canada?”

Well the short answer is, it’s not like any other hub of humanity that’s for sure!

For those who’ve never set foot in a country full of ducks, pucks and Canucks, it’s how shall we say … “charmingly different” or “unprepossessing” if you really dig off-the-beaten path placid places such as “Driftpile”, “Old Sweat”, and “Nowhere Island”.

Here are a few signs to let you know that you’ve arrived in Canada, “the land of deer-in-the-headlight looks” and mythical monsters with bad breath, big feet, and bad hairdos not to mention curiously quaint names like “Bugaboos” or “Sasquatch”.

  1. It’s a very secular spot -- where doughnut and coffee shops dot the landscape and outnumber places of piety by a ratio of 7 to 1, and a wayward winery that has vexed the Vatican by naming one of its vaunting varietals, “Blasted Church”.
  2. The deer and the antelope play right outside your back door, along with the blinking beavers, mangy moose, and those cacophonous crapping creatures known as "Canada Geese".
  3. Politicians who can’t walk on water usually take up skating on thin ice, going on wild-goose chases, or shooting the breeze – three great Canadian pastimes.
  4. The “Barenaked Ladies” serenade you at the border crossing, while conscientious yet highly circumspect Customs & Immigration officials search your bags and travel trunks for any contraband including their favorite froth, “Naked Grape”.
  5. Every barber or barbell shop in town is obliged to play the warbling wafts of waifs like Shania Twain, Diana Krall or Celine Dion, just to keep baby-boomer boys happy.
  6. 7-11 convenience stores and the TV shopping channel fill the 24/7 shopaholic segment of the consumer-driven economy, (when Santa Claus and his effervescent eleves at the North Pole are not available to prance about the planet in a fuel-efficient reindeer-powered sleigh dropping off naughty and nice things that make the world go round).
  7. Where “eh” is a more popular pause point in a cat-your-your tongue conversation than such riveting random retorts as “um”, “ah” or “oh”.
  8. Fashionable footwear includes handsome H2O-proof hip-waders, stylish steel-toed boots, or brightly-colored light-weight recycled rubber clogs.
  9. Popular pests, (such as the 79 species of mega-munching mosquitoes who breed here in summer), come in only one size, “Grande”.
  10. Teetotalers recommend sipping rather than slurping “Tea as it should be” when visiting Victoria, B.C., (home to far too many flakes, nuts, and raging grannies).


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